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Graduate Studies

Visiting Graduate Students

Who is a visiting graduate student?

A visiting student IS

  • currently registered in a graduate degree program in another university;
  • a student who has made arrangements through both their home university and a graduate program at McMaster, to spend some time at McMaster as part of their degree program at their home university.

A visiting student IS NOT

  • a degree-seeking student at McMaster University;
  • part of any official exchange agreement, including Ontario Visiting Graduate Student (OVGS).

See the McMaster Academic Graduate Calendar for more information.

Expandable List

Students meeting the visiting student definition may visit for a maximum of one year, to fulfill one of the following goals: 

  • take course work in a specific program;
  • conduct research in a specific lab; or
  • participate in an internship with a specific program or faculty member.

All visiting graduate students must:

  1. apply to be a Visiting Student at McMaster University and be admitted;
  2. enrol in SGS 302 for every term that they are a visiting student;
  3. enrol in – and complete – SGS 101 and 201; and
  4. pay supplementary fees.

International visiting students must also:

  • enrol in the University Health Insurance Plan (UHIP) for the duration of their visit, if they do not have accepted equivalent health insurance coverage; and
  • abide by all Canadian immigration requirements to enter and stay in Canada.

First steps to becoming a visiting student

  • If you are planning to take one or more courses, identify the graduate program associated with your planned activities.
  • If you are planning to conduct research, you must find a supervisor to support your visit.
  • Contact the program or faculty member to enquire about the potential for your planned visit. If they are supportive of your visit, contact the department’s graduate administrator to start the application process.
  • If your application to be a visiting student is successful, you will receive an official offer letter.

Additional steps for visiting international graduate students

You will need to use your Offer Letter to complete the necessary immigration requirements.

  • If the purpose of your visit is to take courses and your visit is longer than 6 months, you will likely need a study permit.
  • If the purpose of your visit is to take courses and research/intern/work at the same time, you will likely need a study permit.
  • If the purpose of your visit is to conduct research, complete an internship, or work, you will need authorization to work in Canada. This can be a work permit or, if you are eligible, documentation from the Government of Canada stating an exemption for a work permit (e.g. a Visitor Record with conditions to work/conduct research).

To assess your immigration needs, please contact our immigration advising team at with the following information:

  • your visiting student offer letter
  • dates of your visit
  • your country of citizenship
  • your intended activity (e.g., research or taking courses)
  • if you are conducting research, how your visit is funded (e.g., the name of your scholarship)

If you have a general question about being a visiting graduate student at McMaster, please contact the School of Graduate Studies.

After you’ve been admitted, you are eligible for many of the same services as McMaster degree-seeking students, including a MacID, student card, email and online account access, and more.

For all visiting grad students

Additional resources for international students